David Micheluzzi has overcome a seven shot deficit early in the final round to stage an incredible come-from-behind win the 2023 Vic PGA at Moonah Links.
After a break-out season last year, winning three times and claiming the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit, his latest win further outlines Micheluzzi as one of the most exciting emerging Australian talents.
Recording a final round four-under 68 to finish on a total of 14-under, Micheluzzi edged out Ben Eccles by a solitary stroke. His latest win not without some hiccups along the way.
The Victorian started the day six shots behind Kazuma Kobori, and after a double bogey on the second, he found himself even further behind.
Bouncing back quickly, Micheluzzi birdied his next three holes, and as he edged closer, Kobori finally slowed.
At the turn, Kobori's six-shot lead was gone, the Kiwi and Micheluzzi tied at the top, with Eccles in the group ahead making moves of his own.
After four bogeys, Kobori's first birdie came at the par-5 13th keeping hope of a first Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia win alive, but three more bogeys coming in put an end to his chances. Kobori’s impeccable golf in the first three rounds, in just his second tournament as a professional, showing why the young Kiwi is going to be a force to be reckoned with in future events.
As Kobori struggled coming home, Micheluzzi added four more birdies against a solitary dropped shot, with a bogey at the par-4 15th signalling the end of Eccles’ charge and yet another trophy for the man known as Micha’s mantlepiece.
This win particularly special in his home state and in front of friends and family. Something Micheluzzi has been dreaming of since he was a child.
"I'm stoked with how everything went, and yeah to have friends and family here just tops everything," he said.
"The putter got so hot, it's probably the best I've putted in quite a long time."
His Order of Merit win from last season has gained Micheluzzi DP World Tour status for next year, but performing well in Australia is still high on his priorities.
"I wanted to come back and play a couple of events, especially before Aus PGA and Aus Open," he said.
Playing with Kobori on Sunday, Micheluzzi had nothing but praise for the rookie professional.
"He's so good … that's definitely not the last time you'll see him, he can only grow, he's a great kid."
Next week's Fortinet Australian PGA Championship will be Micheluzzi's first event as a DP World Tour player, with the next two events on the Australasian calendar co-sectioned with the circuit, and on current form he'll definitely be one to watch.
With a lot of the focus on Micheluzzi and Kobori in the final group, Eccles had his chances to move up the leaderboard, however, his runner-up finish this week coupled with his win at the WA PGA last month moves him to the top of the Order of Merit standings.
"I'm really proud of how I got myself into the mix, and I holed a few good putts coming in which I'm really proud of," he said.
"I spoke to my coach yesterday and we just said, 'Keep moving forward', and that's kind of been the message all season really.
"Two big weeks coming up, so again it'll be the same sort of message just keep moving forward."
In the amateur teams event, Konrad Ciupek and partner Sang Jun Lee took home the trophy with a score of 35-under-par, with amateur Lee’s hole-in-one at the par-3 17th a crucial factor in their success.
Praising the conditioning of the courses this week during his acceptance speech, Micheluzzi will surely be excited by today’s announcement that the Vic PGA will be headed back to Moonah Links for another three years.
AGIC report reveals total annual benefits to the Australian community, economy and environment from golf.